OUT IN STICKS
Tiradia (16-1), Flying Eagle (2-1) and Skilled (11-8) from Jeremy Grayson’s last summer selection have recorded next-time successes – here are some more suggestions taken to follow suit
Jeremy Grayson follows up a profitable month with more tips
BANGOR-ON-DEE, AUGUST 16 (GOOD) 2m145yds Maiden Hurdle (class 5)
An unusually deep maiden hurdle for a minor mid-August evening card should produce future winners from among the beaten runners, and despite regressing badly for previous connections during 2017 that comment now applies with renewed confidence to OSCAR’S SONG, a staying-on 4l third (and nearly second) on her debut for Dan Skelton. This six-yearold from an immediate family full of scorers in France and Ireland in both codes, notably one-time RSA Chase second Lyreen Legend, reaffirmed an earlier impression given that her future lies over nearer to 2m4f than this minimum trip, and the removal of the tongue tie applied in vain when previously seen only nineteen days previously proved no bar to a sustained effort. There didn’t appear to be any issues with her handling this soundest surface tried to date either, which should help increase options.
3m30yds 0-110 Handicap Chase (class 4)
The success in this contest of Gary Hanmer’s PACKETTOTHERAFTERS, a horse just 2-18 and frequently well held in points before switching under Rules this spring,will give further fuel to the (not entirely unfounded) claims of some British point fans that it’s often harder to win a modest race between the flags nowadays than it is a mid- to low-grade handicap chase. This example, however, was well stocked for the class, so whilst the Craigsteel gelding admittedly capitalised on a very workable mark his achievement in victory does carry some substance. The pointing track here at Bangor had provided the eight-year-old with one of those prior victories, and the equally sharp Cheshire venue of Tabley the other, leaving no ambiguity as to what sort of courses he’d be best kept to in a bid to follow up this latest success.Soft and good ground both appear to suit.
FONTWELL, AUGUST 17 (GOOD TO FIRM, GOOD IN PLACES) 2m1f162yds 0-100 Handicap Hurdle (class 5)
It has been established in five years of campaigning that HERMOSA VAQUERA is nothing out of the ordinary on the Flat or over hurdles,and a current hurdling mark of 100 sits 12lb above any she’s successfully defied over jumps. That latter fact might no longer have applied without a tardy leap at the final flight here,however, as it threw Gary Moore’s mare just enough off kilter to condemn her to a half-length defeat despite a renewed late effort.
A small rise in class will be necessary if her mark is upped even a pound for this, but she may yet prove capable of coping with that on this showing,and a recent softground 11.5f success on the Flat additionally suggests that this daughter of High Chaparral can be approached with more confidence regardless of the prevailing underfoot conditions.
2m1f165yds 0-100 Handicap Chase (class 5)
HOUSEPARTY’s stamina for the full 3m trip of most point-to-points hasn’t always lasted out,notwithstanding a very narrow failure to make all around the stayers’ track of High Easter as recently as April. Nevertheless, the Invincible Spirit nineyear-old clearly has enough staying power in reserve to withstand an assertive ride at a sub-2m4f distance under Rules, and second place in the first-time tonguetie here under regular pilot Tabitha Worsley counts as his most affirmative form statement since landing a near-identical contest off 4lb higher for the same rider in May 2015. Newly installed by owner (and his pointing handler Georgina Howell) with Nick Gifford, he remains at the right end of the weights to pick up one of the considerable number of low-grade short handicap chases at one of the Sussex venues before any return between the flags is considered.
2m1f162yds Novices’ Hurdle (class 4)
That IBALLISTICVIN’s four Flat victories had been gained around Brighton (twice), Lingfield and Kempton suggested that this comparably sharp track was just the right one for him on this switch to hurdles,but a really sluggish pace played right out of the hands of one with wins at up to 1m4f on the level and form at up to 1.5f further still. The visual impression for much of the way round was a good one, however, and assuming the mistakes at the final couple
of flights which exaggerated the eventual margin of defeat it shouldn’t be beyond the gift of Gary Moore to find his Rail Link four-year-old an ordinary novice contest in the south-east this coming autumn. Other than heavy, on which he remains untried, all going types appear to come alike.
PERTH, JULY 19 (SOFT) 2m4f35yds 0-125 Handicap Hurdle (class 3)
Although out of a French 11f winner, anything which AHEAD OF THE CURVE achieves over hurdles is probably a bonus ahead of a chasing vocation, and not for the first time this Irish point winner didn’t exhibit the most polished of techniques over the flights despite the deployment of cheekpieces to help him concentrate.In his defence the switch to a sharper track over what’s already a borderline too-short trip probably caused the obstacles to come at him quicker than appreciated on this occasion,and when all is said and done the Ballingarry five-yearold still found a way to overcome his shortcomings and post a decisive 5l success that could easily have been double that with a clearer round. Susan Corbett’s five-year-old has already made up into a well above-average performer for the time of year in the few months she’s had him, and whatever rise could result from this latest success may prove insufficient to prevent a follow-up should that be bid for back around something like the 2m6f of his earlier Uttoxeter victory, if not further still.
SOUTHWELL, JULY 20 (GOOD) 1m7f153yds Novices’ Chase (class 4)
Chasing is certain to be STEALING MIX’s game in the long run, considering a lineage which includes the prolific pair of Red Ark and Rhythm King to name but two.The fences have tended to get in the way a bit on both novice chase starts this summer, however,albeit the strong fractions set by the thriving Azzuri may have goaded Neil Mulholland’s seven-year-old into at least some of his errors on this occasion. It’s also possible that the sharp 2m-2m1f of this start and the one at Stratford which preceded it just don’t suit him as well as equivalent tests around longer tracks, a theory perhaps given further credence by his Exeter hurdles success earlier in the year,and the son of Fair Mix remains of enough interest to warrant another looking at around a more conducive circuit next time. At the very least, this 11l second ought not to have done his mark terminal damage should a switch to novice handicaps be under consideration.
2m4f62yds Handicap Chase (class 2)
The abrupt cessation of Sandra Hughes’s training career earlier this summer will have thrown the plans of some of her owners to the four winds,but the decision of the Bishopgate Syndicate to retain ART OF PAYROLL instead and switch him to Harry Fry’s Dorset operation was immediately vindicated with victory in Southwell’s best jumps contest of the season. Idling on the run-in rather than coming to the end of his tether, it’s likely the Shirocco gelding would always have had enough in reserve to hold nearest rival Hammersly Lake (rated 10lb his superior) even without the rider on that one losing his stick. The eight-year-old’s mark should already be high enough to guarantee him a starting berth in any of the raft of quality 2m4f-2m5f Cheltenham handicaps which seem the most obvious targets for him following this,especially as more galloping courses than Southwell hold no terror. Equally, however, there is enough evidence on his CV to suggest he could ply his trade successfully back down at sub-2m4f trips should an autumn of soft ground arise.
1m7f153yds 0-115 Handicap Hurdle (class 4)
CHILLY MISS’s 2016-17 campaign lasted the grand total of three races within a 27day period, and comprised a comeback run that appeared badly needed followed by two starts around the unsuitably galloping contours of Hexham.It’s not hard to conclude that there’s a lot of lost time and opportunity to be made up for,then,and a 7lb drop to a career-low mark gives Malcolm Jefferson’s Iceman mare every chance of doing so this autumn should she stand more rigorous campaigning again.A near-6l fourth on this return run might have been better still had she been harder ridden in a lost cause from the last, and that kindness could be repaid in spades next time out assuming a 2m-2m1f good-ground event of comparable class with a good pace to come off can be sourced. Three times a winner in maresonly company, her case would simply strengthen further were she pitched in against just her own sex again.
Hermosa Vaquera (left)